Although it is one of the best Switch games released this year, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age is not a perfect game. Fingers are often pointed to the over-the-top voice acting as one of its few downfalls, but others think that’s simply another quirk in an otherwise quirky franchise. When it comes to the soundtrack, however, there is no other way to look at it—it’s just not good.
A bad musical score is nothing new to video games. It often falls to the wayside in favor of gameplay, graphics, or even sound effects. Dragon Quest XI on the Switch had a chance to fix this issue—after all, it was heavily criticized when it launched way back when on the Playstation 4. Players found the soundtrack to be monotonous and mind-numbing during extended playthroughs. The repetitive nature of the score is obvious right from the start of your adventure, as the same damn music plays in the background for most of the game.
Yet, instead of opting to add new music, Dragon Quest XI S remastered the old score. Switch owners could now listen to the same music that was originally on the Playstation 4, or they could listen to a fresh Symphonic rendition of it. While this new version certainly improves the overall sound quality of the track, it’s still the same song as before!
Dragon Quest XI S does offer up the Overworld score from Dragon Quest VIII as an alternative to the original track, but that’s not quite enough variety for a game that lasts well over 60 hours. Plus, that song is only available while traversing through the Overworld map. The music is so frustrating that some players can’t even beat the game because of it. And that’s a shame, as DQXI is one of the best JRPGs not only on the Switch, but of all-time.
It’s a small complaint but considering all the new content added on the Switch, it’s a bit shocking to see this one sore spot left unattended. In all honesty, a new soundtrack, or at least a few more tracks, would have been more appreciated than some of the other features added on the Switch, such as Tickington or even the 2D mode (which was reportedly a nightmare to develop).
At the end of the day, I’ll still be running around Erdrea—just not with the volume on.